‘Trafficking charge not applicable’, women booked for selling newborn gets bail

It is argued that the newborn was given up for adoption, whereas trafficking is defined as "trafficking for exploitation."

Bhavna UchilUpdated: Friday, August 26, 2022, 10:32 PM IST
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‘Trafficking charge not applicable’, women booked for selling newborn gets bail | Photo: Pexels

Observing that the charge of trafficking is not applicable on which two women were arrested for trying to sell a 15-day old infant, a sessions court has granted bail to them. It reasoned as the newborn was given in adoption while the offence of trafficking entails ‘trafficking for exploitation.

Julia Fernandes, 35, and Shabana Shaikh, 30, were arrested after a raid on a Sion nursing home by the social service branch of the city police. The duo allegedly accepted Rs 15,000 in exchange for the newborn and was booked for trafficking of a minor, punishable with up to 10 years imprisonment and under provisions of the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act.

Additional Sessions Judge AA Kulkarni said in the order that in view of the allegations against them, they appear to have given a newborn on adoption without authority. The court differentiated that the offence of trafficking concerns trafficking for the purpose of exploitation. It said that prima facie offence of trafficking a minor does not seem to be committed by the women. Referring to a provision of the JJ Act under which they had been booked too, it said, the offence concerns with sale and procurement of a child for any purpose. It pointed out that this offence is punishable by five years and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh. The court further reasoned that the infant has been taken in custody by the police and the amount recovered and added that their custodial interrogation is not required.

In their bail plea, the two had claimed that the offence of trafficking is not made out against them. They had also submitted that the amount has been recovered and the infant is taken in custody by the police. Their advocate told the court that their custodial interrogation is not required.

The prosecution had opposed relief to them and argued that the two were wanted accused in another case and if granted relief, there was a possibility that they may repeat the act.

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